The AGS is focusing on Urban Futures - the dramatic increase in urban populations around the world and its implications for global sustainability. The challenge posed by the transition to urban living is to harness the process to ensure progress towards sustainability. Cities, properly managed, can be transformative arenas in which natural resources are used more efficiently and economically, contributing to a high quality of life for everyone. Reinventing cities offers one of the most effective ways of reducing human impacts upon the environment and achieving greater sustainability.
Each AGS university has held a seminar on Urban Futures, and all the webcasts are available on the AGS Urban Futures webpage.
At the ETH the AGS initiated the Urban Futures theme by holding a workshop and seminar in fall 2008, and then the AGS Annual Meeting 2009 at the ETH was held under the theme "Urban Futures: the Challenge of Sustainability".
27-29 January 2009, ETH Zurich Audimax
The AGS Annual Meeting 2009 was held at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, in January, focused on Urban Futures. In keynote talks, panel discussions, workshops and poster sessions the dimensions of the challenge were explored. Topics included energy governance, urban ecology, architecture for the open city, size, shape and sustainability of cities, options for pro-poor urban development, transforming the building stock for sustainability, and whether more mobility increases happiness. The conference offered a forum for perspectives from public and private stakeholders as well as academia, including UN perspectives on challenges and opportunities for academia, visions from a leading company implementing sustainable city development projects worldwide, and the initiator of an NGO creating self-help communities using innovative bottom-up construction methods.
14 November 2008 ETH Zurich Hönggerberg
are habitats, resource sinks, cultural centres, economic hubs, designed
spaces, networks, political powers and ecosystems. All too often, these
different aspects are studied in isolation, but to achieve sustainable
development we need to integrate these different models.
seminar sought to understand the dimensions of research that tackles
the complex reality of urban futures, and achieve a better
understanding of how interdisciplinary research must be designed and
carried out, using examples from the ETH domain. It also reported on
the results of the AGS workshop on interdisciplinary dialogue on Urban
16-17 October 2008 ETH Zurich Hönggerberg
In one and a half days of intensive discussion in small interdisciplinary working groups, faculty and PhD students from the ETH, EPFL, WSL and Eawag grappled with the complexity of defining problems and structuring research to tackle the challenge posed by the rapid growth in the world’s urban population, and how cities can provide for the needs of all these people and at the same time move towards global sustainability. Prepared case studies and questions were used to “catalyse” the discussion, as well as tools and methods for interdisciplinary problem identification and analysis.
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